RECOMMENDED CITATION: Pew Research Center, March 2014, Most Say U.S. Should Not Get Too Involved in Ukraine Situation

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1 NUMBERS, FACTS AND TRENDS SHAPING THE WORLD FOR RELEASE MARCH 11, 2014 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT: Carroll Doherty, Director of Political Research Seth Motel, Research Assistant RECOMMENDED CITATION: Pew Research Center, March 2014, Most Say U.S. Should Not Get Too Involved in Ukraine Situation

2 1 As Russian troops remain in Ukraine s Crimea region and Crimea s Parliament has set up a secession vote, Americans prefer the U.S. to not get too involved in the situation. By a roughly two-to-one margin (56% vs. 29%), the public says it is more important for the U.S. to not get involved in the situation with Russia and Ukraine than to take a firm stand against Russian actions. The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 6-9, 2014 among 1,003 adults, finds more disapprove (44%) than approve (30%) of the way the Obama administration is handling the situation involving Russia and Ukraine, while roughly a quarter (26%) offer no opinion. 29% Want Firm Stand by U.S. Against Russia % saying it is more important for the U.S. to Take a firm stand against Russian actions 29% Don't know (vol.) 15% Not get too involved in the situation in Ukraine 56% Opinions about the administration s handling of the situation are divided along partisan lines. A majority of Republicans (67%) disapprove of its handling of the situation, while most Democrats (56%) approve. Independents by roughly two-to-one (52% to 24%) disapprove of how the administration has handled the situation involving Russia and Ukraine. But partisans generally agree that the U.S. shouldn t get too involved in the situation. Half of Republicans (50%) say it is more important for the United States not to get too involved; just 37% think the U.S. should take a firm stand against Russian actions. Among Democrats, 55% prefer not getting too Survey conducted Mar. 6-9, Independents Disapprove of Obama Administration s Handling of Ukraine Obama administration s handling of situation involving Russia and Ukraine Total Republican Democrat Independent Disapprove Approve Don't know Survey conducted Mar. 6-9, Figures may not add to 100% because of rounding.

3 2 involved and three-in-ten (30%) say the U.S. should take a firm stand. Those who say it is more important for the U.S. taking a firm stand against Russian actions in Ukraine were asked if the U.S. should consider military options or only political and economic options. Most of this group 19% of the public overall said the U.S. should consider only political and economic options in addressing the situation, while just 8% of the public think that military options should be considered. Just 16% of Republicans and smaller shares of Democrats and independents (5% each) say that military options should be considered. There is broad agreement that Russia was not justified in sending troops into Ukraine. Overall, 68% say Russia was not justified in sending troops into Ukraine while just 10% say it was justified; 22% express no opinion. There are no significant partisan differences in these opinions. Modest Partisan Differences in Views of U.S. Actions in Ukraine Do you think it is more important for the U.S. to Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % Take a firm stand against Russia actions In addressing the situation should the U.S. Consider military options Only consider economic/political options Don t know Not get too involved in the situation Don t know Survey conducted Mar. 6-9, Figures may not add to 100% because of rounding. Among the public, 28% say they are very following news about Russia sending troops to Crimea in response to a new Ukrainian government, while 31% say they are following news about Russia and Ukraine fairly ; 40% of the public is following this story not too or not at all. By comparison, the early stage of the conflict between Russian and Georgian forces in August 2008 drew lower interest; shortly after the conflict began, 17% tracked news about the situation very. Interest rose the following week (to 35% following very ) and then declined. By the end of August 2008, as news coverage of the situation decreased, 22% said they were paying very close attention to the Russia-Georgia conflict.

4 3 Those who are following the news very are more inclined than others to advocate for the U.S. to take a firm stand against Russia. Among those following the news, roughly as many say the U.S. should take a firm stand (47%) as prefer not getting too involved (43%). But among those paying less attention, a much greater share say it is more important not to get too involved (61%) than to take a firm stand (22%). Among both groups, however, wide majorities say Russia was not justified in sending troops and more disapprove than approve of how Obama has handled the situation. There are no significant differences in the shares of Republicans, Democrats and independents following this story very. Those Focused on Ukraine News More Supportive of U.S. Taking Firm Stand Following news very Following news less Diff % % Do you think it is more important for the U.S. to Take a firm stand against Russia actions Should consider military options Should only consider economic/political options Don t know Not get too involved in the situation Don t know N Survey conducted Mar. 6-9, Figures may not add to 100% because of rounding. Overall, about as many followed news about the nation s economy as the situation in Ukraine very (28% Ukraine, 27% economy). Nearly as many tracked news about the rollout of the 2010 health care law (23%). By comparison, 19% very followed news a week earlier (Feb. 27-Mar. 2) about violence in Ukraine and the new government there. News interest last week about Russian troops in Crimea was highest among those with higher education levels. Roughly four-in-ten (38%) college graduates very followed Interest in The Week s News % following news very Russian troops in Crimea 28 U.S. economy 27 Health care rollout 23 Obama budget proposal 17 Changes to SAT test 8 Survey conducted Mar. 6-9, the story, compared with about three-in-ten people (29%) with some college education and twoin-ten (20%) with a high school degree or less.

5 4 About the Surveys Most of the analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted March 6-9, 2014 among a national sample of 1,003 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (501 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 502 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 280 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2012 Census Bureau's American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status and relative usage of landline and cell phones (for those with both), based on extrapolations from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting.

6 5 The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey: Unweighted Group sample size Plus or minus Total sample 1, percentage points Republican percentage points Democrat percentage points Independent percentage points Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. Some news interest analysis in the report is based on telephone interviews conducted February 27- March 2, 2014 among a national sample of 1,002 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (500 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 502 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 272 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2012 Census Bureau's American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status, based on extrapolations from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting.

7 6 The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey: Unweighted Group sample size Plus or minus Total sample 1, percentage points Republican percentage points Democrat percentage points Independent percentage points Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls. Pew Research Center, 2014

8 7 March 6-9, 2014 OMNIBUS FINAL TOPLINE N=1,003 ASK ALL: PEW.1 As I read a list of some stories covered by news organizations this past week, please tell me if you happened to follow each news story very, fairly, not too, or not at all. First, [INSERT ITEM; RANDOMIZE] [IF NECESSARY Did you follow [ITEM] very, fairly, not too or not at all? ] a. Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy March 6-9, February 27-March 2, February 6-9, January 30-February 2, * January 9-12, January 2-5, December 12-15, November 14-17, * October 31-November 3, * October 17-20, * October 3-6, September 25-29, * September 19-22, September 12-15, * August 1-4, July 18-21, June 20-23, June 13-16, * June 6-9, * May 16-19, * May 9-12, March 28-31, March 7-10, * January 31-February 3, January 17-20, * January 3-6, SEE TREND FOR PREVIOUS YEARS: b. Russia sending troops into Ukraine s Crimea region in response to a new Ukrainian government March 6-9, February 27-March 2, 2014: Political violence and a new government in Ukraine TRENDS FOR COMPARISON: August 29-31, 2008: The ongoing hostilities between Russia and the Republic of Georgia August 22-25, * August 15-18, * August 8-11, 2008: Russia sending troops into the Republic of Georgia

9 8 PEW.1 CONTINUED c. Barack Obama s budget proposal for next year March 6-9, TRENDS FOR COMPARISON: December 12-15, 2013: Congress negotiating a new budget agreement October 17-20, 2013: Congress reaching an agreement to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit * October 3-6, 2013: The shutdown of the federal government * September 25-29, 2013: Congress working on a budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September * September 19-22, March 28-31, 2013: Automatic government spending cuts that began on March 1st March 14-17, 2013: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit and national debt March 7-10, 2013: Automatic government spending cuts that began on March 1st February 21-24, 2013: News about automatic cuts to federal spending that will take effect next week, unless the president and Congress act January 24-27, 2013: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit and national debt January 3-6, 2013: Congress and the president passing legislation to avoid the Fiscal Cliff December 13-16, 2012: The debate in Washington over automatic spending cuts and tax increases that would take effect in January unless the President and Congress act December 6-9, November 29-December 2, November 15-18, November 8-11, * July 19-22, November 3-6, 2011: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit and national debt October 27-30, October 13-16, 2011: The debate in Washington over jobs and the deficit September 29-October 2, 2011: Congress working on a budget extension to avoid a government shutdown * September 22-25, 2011: The debate in Washington over jobs and the deficit September 15-18, 2011: The debate in Washington over President Obama s jobs legislation

10 9 PEW.1 CONTINUED September 8-11, 2011: Barack Obama s speech about jobs to a joint session of Congress July 28-31, 2011: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit and national debt * July 21-24, * July 14-17, * June 16-19, 2011: Debate in Washington over whether to raise the federal debt limit * June 2-5, * May 26-29, 2011: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit * May 12-15, May 5-8, 2011: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit and national debt April 21-25, * April 14-17, April 7-10, 2011: The threat of a government shutdown because of budget disagreements in Washington * March 31-April 3, 2011: Discussions in Washington about how to address the federal budget deficit * March 17-20, March 3-6, February 17-20, December 2-5, December 2-5, 2010: The debate in Washington over the federal income tax cuts passed when George W. Bush was president November 11-14, 2010: Proposals made by leaders of the federal budget deficit commission September 16-19, 2010: The debate in Washington over competing Democratic and Republican tax plans * September 9-12, May 8-11, 2009: The debate in Washington over the federal budget * March 27-30, 2009: Debate over Barack Obama s budget proposal March 6-9, 2009: Obama proposing a $630 billion fund for overhauling health care * February 27-March 2, 2009: Barack Obama s budget proposal for next year that raises taxes on wealthy Americans and increases spending on health care, education and other programs * February 27-March 2, 2009: The Obama administration s plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure which could cost as much as $275 billion

11 10 PEW.1 CONTINUED February 20-23, 2009: The $780 billion economic stimulus legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama * February 13-16, 2009: Congress passing Barack Obama s economic stimulus plan * February 6-9, 2009: The debate in Congress over Barack Obama s economic stimulus plan * January 30-February 2, * January 16-19, 2009: Debate in Washington over what the government should do about the nation s economic problems * January 9-12, 2009: Projections of a record high federal budget deficit this year * December 19-22, 2008: The Bush administration s plan to provide billions in emergency loans to U.S. automakers December 12-15, 2008: The debate over a government bailout for the U.S. auto industry * December 5-8, 2008: The debate in Congress over a government bailout for the U.S. auto industry * November 21-24, October 3-6, 2008: The debate in Washington over a plan to use government funds to stabilize financial markets * September 26-29, * September 12-15, 2008: The federal government taking control of the mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac March 20-24, 2008: The buyout of Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns * February 8-11, 2008: President Bush and Congress agreeing on an economic Stimulus plan January 25-28, * February, 2003: George W. Bush s tax cut and economic stimulus plan February, January, February, 2002: The debate in Congress over George W. Bush s budget and tax cut plan April, * February, 2001: George W. Bush s tax cut plan August, 1997: The debate in Washington about the federal budget May, February, March, * January, * September, * August, 1995: The debate in Congress over the federal budget

12 11 PEW.1 CONTINUED February, 1995: The debate in Congress over the Balanced Budget Amendment August, 1993: The debate in Congress over Bill Clinton s budget bill * June, February, 1993: Bill Clinton s economic plan * September, 1992 (RV): George Bush s plan to improve the economy by cutting government spending and cutting taxes November, 1990: Congressional and administration efforts to reach a budget deficit agreement October, 1990: Attempts by Congress and the administration to find ways to reduce the budget deficit * August, 1989: Passage of a bill to bailout ailing savings and loan institutions d. Changes to the SAT college admissions test March 6-9, e. News about how the rollout of the 2010 health care law is going March 6-9, February 6-9, January 2-5, December 12-15, November 14-17, * October 31-November 3, 2013: News about health insurance exchanges opening around the country as part of the 2010 health care law * October 17-20, * October 3-6, August 29-September 1, 2013: News about parts of the health care law that are about to take effect * July 18-21, * June 28-July 1, 2012: The Supreme Court decision on the 2010 health care law * March 29-April 1, 2012: Supreme Court hearings about the 2010 health care reform law * November 17-20, 2011: The U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear legal challenges to last year s health care reform law February 3-6, 2011: A federal judge ruling that part of the new health care law is unconstitutional January 20-23, 2011: News about Republican efforts to repeal last year s health care law December 16-19, 2010: A federal judge ruling that parts of the new health care law are unconstitutional

13 12 PEW.1 CONTINUED September 23-26, 2010: News about portions of this year s health care reform law beginning to take effect April 16-19, 2010: News about the new health care reform law * April 9-12, * April 1-5, * March 26-29, 2010: Debate over health care reform * March 19-22, * March 12-15, * March 5-8, * February 26-March 1, * February 19-22, * January 29-February 1, * January 22-25, * January 15-18, * January 8-11, * December 18-21, * December 11-14, * December 4-7, November 20-23, * November 13-16, November 6-9, October 30-November 2, * October 23-26, October 16-19, * October 9-12, October 2-5, * September 25-28, September 18-21, * September 11-14, * September 3-6, August 28-31, August 21-24, August 14-17, August 7-10, 2009: Debate in Washington over health care reform July 31-August 3, July 24-27, * July 17-20, July 10-13, * June 26-29, June 19-22, * June 12-15, * May 15-18, 2009: Debate over Barack Obama s health care plans * March 6-9, 2009: Obama proposing a $630 billion fund for overhauling health care * TRENDS FOR COMPARISON: October, 1994: The debate in Congress about health care reform September, 1994: The Clinton administration s health care reform proposals * June, * May, January, *

14 13 PEW.1 TRENDS FOR COMPARISON CONTINUED Early January, * December, October, September, * August, 1993: Reports about the White House task force on health care reform headed by Hillary Clinton June, * May, ASK ALL: PEW.2 Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling the situation involving Russia and Ukraine? Mar Approve 44 Disapprove 26 Don t know/refused NO QUESTIONS PEW.3-PEW.4 ASK ALL: PEW.5 Do you think Russia was justified or not justified in sending troops into Ukraine? Mar Justified 68 Not justified 22 Don t know/refused NO QUESTIONS PEW.6-PEW.7 ASK ALL: PEW.8 Thinking about the situation in Ukraine, do you think it is more important for the U.S. to [READ AND RANDOMIZE]? ASK IF FIRM STAND (PEW.8=1): PEW.9 And do you think the U.S. should consider military options to address the situation involving Russia and Ukraine, or should it only consider economic and political options? Mar Take a firm stand against Russian actions 8 Consider military options 19 Only consider economic and political options 2 Don t know/refused 56 Not get too involved in the situation 15 Don t know/refused

15 14 February 27-March 2, 2014 OMNIBUS FINAL TOPLINE N=1,002 ASK ALL: PEW.1 As I read a list of some stories covered by news organizations this past week, please tell me if you happened to follow each news story very, fairly, not too, or not at all. First, [INSERT ITEM; RANDOMIZE] [IF NECESSARY Did you follow [ITEM] very, fairly, not too or not at all? ] a. Reports about the condition of the U.S. economy February 27-March 2, February 6-9, January 30-February 2, * January 9-12, January 2-5, December 12-15, November 14-17, * October 31-November 3, * October 17-20, * October 3-6, September 25-29, * September 19-22, September 12-15, * August 1-4, July 18-21, June 20-23, June 13-16, * June 6-9, * May 16-19, * May 9-12, March 28-31, March 7-10, * January 31-February 3, January 17-20, * January 3-6, SEE TREND FOR PREVIOUS YEARS: b. The Defense Department proposing a new budget that cuts the size of the Army February 27-March 2, TREND FOR COMPARISON: January 5-8, 2012: The Obama administration s plans to change military strategy and reduce military spending * September, 2001: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld s overall review of the U.S. Department of Defense and the military c. The veto by Arizona s governor of a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians for religious reasons February 27-March 2,

16 15 PEW.1 TRENDS FOR COMPARISON: June 27-30, 2013: The Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage * June 20-23, 2013: Recent Supreme Court rulings and cases before the court March 28-31, 2013: The Supreme Court hearing cases about same-sex marriage May 10-13, 2012: President Obama expressing his support for gay marriage February 23-26, 2012: Recent debates over social issues such as gay marriage and contraception Feb 9-12, 2012: A federal appeals court ruling that California s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional Feb 24-27, 2011: Recent developments in the debate over gay marriage May 29-June 1, 2009: The California Supreme Court upholding a ban on gay marriage May 8-11, 2009: Steps to legalize gay marriage in Maine and New Hampshire April 9-13, 2009: The legalization of gay marriage in Iowa and Vermont Nov 7-10, 2008: California voting to ban gay marriage * June 20-23, 2008: The issue of same sex marriage in California * May 16-19, 2008: The California Supreme Court s decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry May, 2004: The issue of gay and lesbian marriage March, Early February, 2004: The debate about allowing gays and lesbians to marry Mid-August, d. Political violence and a new government in Ukraine February 27-March 2, TRENDS FOR COMPARISON: December, 2004: Controversy over the results of the recent election in Ukraine November, 1990: Continuing political unrest in the Ukraine and in other republics of the Soviet Union e. Political violence in Syria February 27-March 2, * January 2-5, TRENDS FOR COMPARISON: September 19-22, 2013: Diplomatic efforts aimed at getting Syria to give up control of its chemical weapons September 12-15, 2013: Possible U.S. airstrikes in Syria and diplomatic efforts to have Syria give up control of its chemical weapons *

17 16 PEW.1 CONTINUED August 29-September 1, 2013: Possible U.S. airstrikes in Syria in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons * June 14-16, 2013: Charges that Syria has used chemical weapons against antigovernment groups June 6-9, 2013: Political violence in Syria * May 9-12, April 25-28, 2013: Charges that Syria has used chemical weapons against antigovernment groups March 28-31, 2013: Political violence in Syria December 13-16, December 6-9, November 29-December 2, August 16-19, July 19-22, June 28-July 1, * June 14-17, May 31-June 3, April 12-15, 2012: International efforts to stop political violence in Syria April 5-8, March 15-18, 2012: Political violence in Syria March 8-11, February 23-26, February 9-12, * January 12-15, August 4-7, 2011: Political violence following uprisings in Syria June 2-5, 2011: Anti-government protests and violence in some Middle Eastern countries * May 5-8, 2011: Political violence following uprisings in Syria April 28-May 1, 2011: Anti-government protests and violence in some Middle Eastern countries February 3-6, 2011: Anti-government protests in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries * January 27-30, * PEW.2-PEW.10 PREVIOUSLY RELEASED PEW.11-PEW.23 HELD FOR FUTURE RELEASE

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